As part of the White House Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative, the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) invited young leaders, tribes, and youth serving organizations to take the Gen-I Challenge and elevate stories of Native youth creating positive change in their communities.
Below are some Gen-I Challenge takers who are making a difference in their communities!
Lupe, Red Lake Band of Ojibwe, worked with the Minneapolis Institute of Art and community members to bring in young artists to create art projects depicting their community. The youth involved used various art forms, including drawing, painting and photography. Through the art pieces, Lupe hoped to raise awareness about community issues and spark discussion among youth.
Raven, Lummi Nation, has started a community dialogue about several issues impacting his tribe. Some issues include protecting sacred sites, constructing ceremonial structures and combatting drug and alcohol abuse. Raven advocates for increased leadership development among his peers and seeks to lead by example.
Lewis, Lower Sioux Indian Community, petitioned his tribal council to keep the tribe’s recreation center open later during the school year and summer. Lewis sees value in providing a safe space for his peers to participate in healthy activities, including culture-based programs, but was concerned that the rec center was closed during crucial times, like the evening. Lewis wrote a letter to his tribal council and addressed them during a community meeting to push them to lengthen operating hours for the rec center.
Lillian, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, partnered with the Missoula Urban Indian Health Center for an Athletic Development Academy, where she taught participants about living an active lifestyle and eating healthy foods. Participants were engaged through sports, drills, drawing, determining SMART goals, writing, lunch, and communication and on the last day of the Academy, participants graduated from the program and received incentives.